How to Use Time Blocking

Time blocking example

I got introduced to the idea of time blocking while reading Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Gary Keller, so I am researching more.

The following is from JORY MACKA’s .
The following is all from them, nothing from me.

The simple reason why time blocking works is that it’s designed for focus. The human brain needs guardrails at work. Otherwise, we fall into what’s known as Parkinson’s Law: “Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”

Single-tasking—focusing on one task at a time—can make you up to 80% more productive than splitting your attention across multiple tasks.

Here is the system:

  1. Start with your high-level priorities
  2. Create a “bookend template” for your day.
    1. Look at your natural productivity cycles throughout the day
      Block out your best time for productive and meaningful work
  3. Set aside time for both Deep & Shallow tasks
    1. This is what Y Combinator founder Paul Graham calls “Maker Time”—sessions where you’re working on deep focus work like writing, designing, or coding. However, you can’t spend all day on Maker Time. Instead, it’s all about finding a balance.
  4. Add blocks for reactive tasks each day
    1. Email and requests from colleagues – set 1,2 hours per day
  5. Write down your daily to-do list (for work, home, and family/social) and fill it in
Example of blocking off time for busy-work, meaningful work, and personal time

Other interesting links on JORY MACKAY ‘s page that I plan to read later are:

When to work: How to optimize your daily schedule for energy, motivation, and focus
For successful collaboration, stop being “always on” and start working in “bursts

Color-coding different time blocks may add visual focus to the flow of the day

Now jumping to for more tips. The following is all from them, nothing from me.

An article quoting Kevin Kruse, author of 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management, recommends time blocks instead of to-do lists “because of the discipline and order it applies to your tasks.”

Why does time blocking work?

  • 1. It makes your work a priority
  • 2. It helps you work distraction-free
  • 3. It minimizes the mental burden of switching tasks

Organizing your schedule instead of making a to-do list takes productivity one step further. Because you’re dedicating specific windows of time to your work, everything finds its place. Tasks aren’t floating around in your mind.

When you create a calendar event, it’s likely something important for yourself, or a commitment you made to someone else. Time blocking does the same thing, but for all of your tasks. It elevates your work — especially the highest priority projects — to an immovable event.

Paul Minors explained time blocking this way, “You’re making a promise to turn up at 10am and work on that presentation. This self-commitment helps you to turn good intention (the tasks on your task list) into a plan of action (a commitment about when you’re going to get the work done).”

If your workplace sounds like the title of Celeste Ng’s 2017 novel, Little Fires Everywhere, you’re going to want to try time blocking. You may have heard the phrase “deep work” or “flow.” In short, deep work is the ability to focus without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. Once you’ve learned this skill, you can think through complex situations and produce better results much faster. Time blocking + deep work = a productivity dream.

We need creative work to move our largest and most strategic projects forward

Step 1. Determine your most and least productive times of the day
Action item: Decide on a 60-minute block of time that is your most productive.

Step 2: Schedule it and stick to it
Action item: Book the 60 minutes on your calendar for each of the next 7 days
Do not let anyone, under any circumstances, disturb you during your productive time. This is YOUR time, and despite the current thoughts you may have, it’s not too much to ask.

Step 3: Put the most important tasks in your 60-minute slot
Action item: Place one important task on each calendar item.

From Elena: This is it dor for now. Speaking of time blocking, my time for researching time blocking is over by 1 minute, and I need to run. Catch you all later

David Greene – The Top Seven Traits Of A Successful Real Estate Investor

This is a summary of the article by David Green (from Nov 18, 2018) published in Forbes magazine called “The Top Seven Traits Of A Successful Real Estate Investor

I decided to make a short summary of the article for myself:

1. Knowledge

Knowing what drives the markets and how to recognize when, where, and what to buy, sell, or hold, to maximize profits or minimize risk. David recommends spending time becoming experts on the following topics:

  • Property cash flow analysis
  • Recognizing under-valued properties quickly
  • Accurate estimation of rehab costs
  • Economic factors that drive a market
  • Everything that goes into owning rental property (property management duties, etc)

2. Patience.

Avoid establishing arbitrary goals (like buying 1 property every 2 months) that you then have to rush to meet. If you are in the wrong phase of the market cycle, wait until the winds are fortuitous. Act based on what the numbers and the market tell you, and do not give up to internal or external pressures.

3. Vision

Here David mostly talks about the ability to see potential where others see none, and ways to add value to properties. He gives the following examples:

  • Adding bedrooms to a house in a house with less than three
  • Adding bathrooms to a house with less than two
  • Adding square footage cheaply. Often by converting carports, Florida rooms, efficiency rooms, or covered storage areas to make them part of the property
  • Buying properties with strong bones that need cheap cosmetic upgrades
  • Buying income property and increasing the rents
  • Buying commercial property and decreasing the expenses

4. Efficiency

Look for things that you do every day that eat up time, eliminate distractions. Do not answer every email or take unscheduled phone calls. Demand efficiency from contractors.

5. Focus

Focus on things that contribute to the bottom line. Use 80/20 rule to identify 20% of activities that bring you 80% of profit, and hire support people to do the rest for you. Narrow your focus rather than expand it, and make sure that it is reflected in your business plans.

6. Relationship building

In fact, most successful investors consider relationship-building to be their 20% success factor. They buy nice homes, yachts, play golf and do other social things to get connected with other people with money. They also try to see how they can add value to other people whom they need to move forward.

7. Use of leverage

Money: Successful investors learn how to use OPM in order to scale up

People: using other people to be able to focus on the 20% that makes them the most return, and leveraging others to do the rest

Opportunities: Using every win to create the next win, leverage current success to bring the next opportunity. Your investors like repetition.

Locating distressed properties

This is just a collection of quotes from other authors about various ways to locate distressed properties. Pretty much all of the info is a repost.

For those wondering how to find distressed properties other than driving around, there are multiple methods to searching online. However, it should be noted that distressed properties come in many forms, and are not always called “distressed” outright. Look for ‘distressed properties for sale by owner’ that are delinquent in taxes and mortgage payments, properties that must be sold legally due to bankruptcy or divorce, probate deals, and properties that are owned by the banks or the government.

Starting with the first example, finding properties with tax delinquencies is luckily a straightforward process. The hardest part will be finding your local tax assessor’s web page that lists these properties. After you have found the site, simply search the listings until you have found a property you’re interested in. Another type of property that might be in distressed is one for which the owners have been delinquent on their mortgage payments, also known as “underwater.” These properties are usually in “pre-foreclosure,” and can be found on multiple listing sites such as your local county website or paid sites such as

Properties that must be sold legally, such as through bankruptcy or divorce, may also be in distress. When looking through your county foreclosure listings, you may have already noticed listings that are listed as being auctioned for bankruptcy or divorce. Although not every county is required to list such properties, you can at least find properties that are up for auction. The probate court is yet another creative space to find distressed properties. A probate property is one that was owned by someone who has passed, but without leaving the property to anyone in their will. It should be noted that making an offer on a probate sale requires a special process, as the property is being sold through an attorney or an executor. Finally, investors should search through REO (real estate-owned) and government-owned properties that have already been foreclosed upon. When a property owner fails to make mortgage payments, the provider of the mortgage loan (in this case the bank or the government) retains the rights to reclaim the property. Many local and national banks have their own property listing sites, as do government entities such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

Other suggestions from the same article:

Driving For Dollars
If you’re wondering where to find distressed properties, there is a traditional method that transcends time: hopping in the car and driving around. Assuming you already have a target neighborhood in mind, simply drive around and look for properties that stand out from others due to a state of neglect. Telltale signs to look out for include an overgrown yard, broken windows and shutters, exterior paint that is faded or peeling, notices that are posted on windows and doors, and junk mail and newspapers that are left uncollected. If you find a property that meets any or all of these descriptions, be sure to write down the address so you can start investigating.

Expanding on some of those suggestions, here is the article from BiggerPockets by Drew Sygit  called “6 Ways to Locate Distressed Properties Online

Finding properties with delinquent taxes is fairly straightforward if you can find the local tax assessor’s website. Depending on where you’re looking, you might need to Google for “[City Name] Tax Assessor” or “[County Name] Tax Assessor”

The best “underwater” properties are the ones that are right on the verge of foreclosure — they’re the most motivated sellers. In many parts of the United States, you can find an official publication of these houses by Googling for “[County Name] Legal Notices,” but you can also find reliable, easy-to-browse listings at, and

Another option is to cultivate relationships with local bankruptcy and divorce attorneys, so they call you when they encounter a motivated seller.  

Real estate-owned a.k.a. bank-owned properties aren’t just “distressed”; they’ve already been foreclosed upon. Most of them are just sitting empty, slowly costing the companies that own them money. On the downside, 100 percent of them are sold as-is, so if you don’t have a good reason to be confident that a particular home is solid, they can be a gamble. The best way to find REO properties is right here on BiggerPockets: a well-maintained list of REO searches that covers the entire country.

When the HUD, FreddyMac, or FannieMae insures a mortgage and that mortgage fails, those entities foreclose on the mortgaged homes just like a bank would. And when they do, they turn around and try to sell those homes, just like a bank does. Furthermore, properties are also frequently offered by several other government entities, such as the Department for Veterans Affairs or the FDIC. While every agency has its own rules and methods, you can start your research into this vast arena at the HUD Single-Family Homes for Sale webpage, which has links to each government department’s relevant webpage. There are also several solid links on the U.S. Marshal Services’ National Sellers List [PDF].

Yet more tips from article “How to Find Distressed Properties” by Angela Colley

One way to find distressed properties is to choose a target neighborhood, then drive around and eyeball the homes there. Be on the lookout for these telltale signs:

  • Properties that stand out from other homes on the block because they are in a state of neglect
  • Properties where the lights are not turned on at night
  • Homes with yards overgrown with weeds
  • Broken windows and shutters in need of repair
  • Faded and peeling paint
  • Notices post on doors or windows
  • Uncollected newspapers and junk mail

Be Wary of Web Searches
Internet searches can yield a wealth of information about distressed properties, but there are a few risks:

  • Many sites charge a fee to browse their database. Since you’ll have to pay upfront, you won’t know if the cost was worth it until you’ve already paid.
  • Not all sites guarantee their information. What you’re looking at online may not be what you see in person.
  • Some listings are outdated. You may waste time by looking at already-sold homes.
  • If you’re browsing online, be sure to stick with a reputable free site. Try browsing®’s Homes for Sale to get an idea of what is available in your area.

Starting real estate agent classes

And so it begins! I am making the first tangible step toward my real estate investment career. Today is day 1 of my real estate agent classes. Sat and Sun, 8 am-5.30pm. Can’t wait.

Invert, always invert

I was meditating on the quote from Charles Munger, “Invert, always invert!” I did some research to find the origins of this quote, and found some fascinating info. Here are other people’s research results, I am just reposting them

The German mathematician Carl Jacobi made a number of important contributions to different scientific fields during his career. In particular, he was known for his ability to solve hard problems by following a strategy of man muss immer umkehren or, loosely translated, “invert, always invert.” 

Jacobi believed that one of the best ways to clarify your thinking was to restate math problems in inverse form. He would write down the opposite of the problem he was trying to solve and found that the solution often came to him more easily. Read more @

One of the biggest musical shifts in the last several decades came from Nirvana, a band that legitimized a whole new genre of music—alternative rock—and whose Nevermind album is memorialized in the Library of Congress as one of the most “culturally, historically or aesthetically important” sound recordings of the 20th century. 

Nirvana turned the conventions of mainstream rock and pop music completely upside down. Where hair metal bands like Poison and Def Leppard spent millions to produce and promote each record, Nirvana recorded Nevermind for $65,000. Where hair metal was flashy, Nirvana was stripped-down and raw.

This strategy works equally well for other creative pursuits like writing. Many great headlines and titles use the power of inversion to up-end common assumptions. As a personal example, two of my more popular articles, “Forget About Setting Goals” and “Motivation is Overvalued”, take common notions and turn them on their head.


This article on inversion is so great, I want to make a speech about it at my Toastmasters club

RE agents income – articles

I am considering my options for going into real estate full time next year. Part of my income will (hopefully) come from a couple of flips. The rest I want to make as relevant to my flips and rentals as possible. So, real estate agent for a couple of first years is a natural choice, but the financials overall need to be considered. Hopefully, the byproduct of my efforts to find good flips will be finding many properties that are not a good flip but could still be sold. I am hoping to be the first person to interact with the seller, and therefore have the opportunity to list the property. Nevertheless, I have to count on the worst-case scenario. So, here is my review

Average REA salaries in Texas by city are listed here (2019). Long story short, the average is about 41K/year for Dallas. Since I am doing this to educate myself about the buyers’ tastes, I can consider this to be paid internship. But 41K is a little low for me for a year overall, assuming that I won’t make much on my first couple of flips. But for year 1 it might work.

This article suggest starting real estate agent income as a part time income.

1 year ago


Doing our taxes I came upon our savings account statement from March 2018, showing $1,566.37 in it. It dropped from $7,162 in January 2018 to $1,566 in March 2018 due to the car payment, house payment, HOA payment, student loan payment, insurance payments, and about $2,000 worth of min payments on credit cards all going out each month. March was the last month we had money for, and then we would have to start cashing out our retirement accounts.

Now, exactly 1 year later, we are in much better shape. I am grateful to the universe, my spiritual teachers, Osho and Thich Nhat Hanh, and to the power of my Life Pyramid for getting through those difficult times in 2018.

Reviewing “The Dhandho Investor”

Reviewing “The Dhandho Investor: The Low-Risk Value Method to High Returns” by Mohnish Pabrai

This is the best book on investment principles I have read so far (but I only read 2 or 3, so…). It is closely aligned with value investing principles of Graham and Buffett, but takes a slightly different approach. It uses several formulas and ideas (for example, Buffett’s idea of the “moat,” Kelly’s formula, the Magic Formula, arbitrage,) and throws in some fascinating thoughts on an ancient military battle formation called
chakravyuh (one of the deadliest formations a general can encounter) and the ways to break through it, and ties this all together into a neat little story to describe the main tenants of his “philosophy.” The main among them is this one: “Heads, I win; tails, I don’t lose much.”

With this approach in mind, Mohnish goes on to examine stories of outstanding success, often by immigrants (Papa Patel, Manilal Chaudhari, himself) who came in the United States with nothing but a solid dhandho (work) philosophy, which transformed into an investment philosophy, which transformed into the above average successes.

There are a ton of examples and mathematical formulas that Mohnish uses to demonstrate the basics of the value investing (or Dhandho style investing). I made so many highlights in the book it is not even funny. Most importantly, his ideas are focused on ordinary, poor, underprivileged individuals who make it all the way through the chakravyuh and come out victorious, all presented in an angaging story-telling style, so they really stay in your head as vivid images long after the book is finished. The main differentiator between this and other books I have read is that this book describes a philosophy first and strategy and techniques second. I hated to put the book down, it was too short!

Reposting: 45 creative real estate marketing ideas (from FitSmallBusiness)

This is a truly outstanding list of marketing ideas that could apply to almost any business, although in this case these are ideas for marketing a listing of a property

Stolen from

Market Yourself Using Zillow

This is the most obvious one, obviosuly

Offer Home Valuations to Capture Seller Leads

This is a good one. Many people want to know what their property is worth, and you are offering this service to them for free, and you make it automated, so it won’t suck you into time-consuming projects. So a win-win.

Create Subdivision Website Pages

I am not sure about this one, looks like alot of work, especially if you have to market several subdivisions

Write a Killer Real Estate Newsletter

This one is also alot of work, and only a tiny section of your mailing list will see it, so I am not 100% sure ROI will be as good as on some other initiatives

Employ Google AdWords

This one is another one that I am not sure how it really pays off. So many other people are using the same adwords. I never found adwords to be all that useful in my previous marketing attempts.

Master Your Elevator Pitch

This one seems to be pretty obvious. A 30-sec value statement should be the must on the landing page at the minimum

Host Local Neighborhood Tours

I am not sure about this one, sounds like alot of trouble, and alot of the tour (like traffic congestion, weird things happening, etc) are outside of your control during the tour. But it might be worth trying a time or two.

Livestream Your Agency’s Day to Day

Kind of like a reality show. I am not sure who would have the time to watch an agency day-to-day, most people who are working probably have better things to watch. But it might be worth a month try.

Use Decor to Set Your Listing Apart

The decor has a funky item that is easy to remember even after many houses have been visited. Serves as a memory tool for the buyers.

Optimize Your Facebook Page

Ok, sure. It is almost like saying “Optimize your web page.” Good idea that most people would probably ruin with a bad execution

Use SEO to Drive Traffic to Your Website

Ok, another bland idea, but a good reminder about the basics

Highlight Homes With Professional Photography

People think in pictures, and feel in pictures, and dream in pictures. So yeah, this one should be the basics, I think.

Send Postcards That Are ‘Fridge-worthy’

This is an excellent suggestion about the types of topics to cover in your mass mailing. Make the ad of the company a tiny thing at the bottom, but a big important thing in the body. Do it regularly enough, and they will start looking forward to those postcards, I think

Use Instagram Stories

That is a topic of a whole different discussion, but sure, let’s not forget to get to strategize on this.

Choose Words That Sell

Yes, emotions eat logic for breakfast. Get emotional juices flowing, but how? Another interesting topics of research.

Use Strategic PR to Stay Relevant & Build Authority

They suggest using Help a Reporter Out (RARO) web site. I would need to see a more detailed strategy for that one, as it might be time-consuming and has too wide of an audience

Become a Lifetime Learner

Duh. But it is a good reminder to check out new classes from your local RE associations

Showcase Your Charitable Side

A good idea, I thought about the ways to do it myself, but I think it is such a long-term project that a good base of other cash-generating ideas is needed to execute that one consistently year in and year out. People forget quickly.

Create a Blog That Answers Client Questions

All blogs are pretty time consuming, and are lost in the noise quickly unless they provide serious valie. So, this might be a good add-on, but not the main vehicle.

Elevate Your Listing Photos With

Seems more like a plug-in for a vendor than a real suggestion, but sure. The more images and the different-er and richer the images, the better. I have a feeling there are a ton of other sites that can help with the virtual staging process.

Stand Out With Handwritten Notes

Sure, if your buyers can read your handwriting.

Learn the Best Ways to Engage on Social Media

How is this not a repetition of like 5 previous suggestions? C’mon, FitSmallBusiness! Stop feeding us gruel.

Grow Your Network With Regular Events

Again, good old basics (happy hours), but probably could be worth refreshing on. Do them only if you have a budget and the attendees are pre-qualified. Otherwise – networking not necessarily converts to sales.

Create a Client Testimonial Packet

Probably a good suggestion, with some work, one-time effort can pay off

Make a Personal Connection With Video Emails

I would give it a shot just to see what the engagement is really like, but I would not hold high hopes for that one. How many videos of yours will they want to see? Everyone is busy.

Think Outside the Box

Oh, I LOOOOOOVE this one. Just check it out:

real estate marketing - Tips from the pros

Bring the Open House to Clients

A good idea, if your clients are tech-savvy enough to utilize this technique to the fullest, or to know what an iPad is. I would think of a different prize if I was the realtor. Something all ages and OS-fans could find attractive.

Harness the Power of Cold Calling

Really? Really? This is the ground-breaking thought of the day?

Create Viral Infographics to Share on Social Media

Goes hand-n-hand with the “fridge worthy” suggestion. But – lots of work and research and paying someone for design, for a subliminal message that may or may not hit the target when they ARE ready to buy or sell. This is not an immediate conversion type of idea, so do it only if you have the time and budget to make long term moves like that.

Maximize Lead Generation With Landing Pages

Uh, ok. Sure. If you have a web site at all, I recommend just a good web designer. Let him or her tell you more good tips like that.

Use Retargeting Campaigns to Drive Traffic Back to Your Site

Seems like a full-time web designer will be needed, unless you want to spend your time generating web pages and tracking moves.

Choose the Right Farm Area

I am not 100% sure I understood this advice at all, so I am not going to comment.

Utilize Snapchat for Real Estate Marketing

Ok, ok. Can we just make a separate post for all social media strategies and keep everything together in THAT post?

Learn How to Market to Millennials

Good idea, I am sure there is a lot of literature on that online

Start a Direct-to-Door Marketing Campaign With Door Hangers

I would give that one a shot for a quarter or two to see if this leads to real results

Learn Facebook Messenger Marketing

Grrr. More ways to stock poor prospects everywhere they go. A good way to become annoying I think

Invest in Your Community to Generate Strong, Top-of-Mind Referrals

Community events, charity events – I already commented on this. Those are a long term strategy. People forget so quickly. I would go for more immediate and direct approaches first.

Make a Viral Real Estate Video

Making ANYTHING viral is an art and a science in its own. I would not count on any one of your videos becoming truly viral. Plus, viral videos are by definition not targeted. It might be viral, but is it seen by people in my geographics are who are currently looking for THAT type of house?

Set Up Local Community Pages

I would need to see that executed in practice to buy that this is a good investment of time, but ok, anything could be good to try out

Craft a Personalized Message for Your Buyers

Sure, why not. This is more of a small technique rather than a strategy, and hopefully not the only technique in his toolbelt.

Create a New & Eye-catching Logo

I think a logo won’t do much difference if you have no TRAFFIC to your side. Logo is not going to make or break the sale. It might be just a tiny, tiny, tiny grain than tips the scales in your favor.

Create a Video Series to Share With Leads

That is actually a good one, provided that your audience is tech savvy to view them. But it is a time consuming and not targeted, much like the viral video suggestion

Optimize Your Listing Photos

I thought it was already covered by like, 5 other suggestions?

Make Your Website Your Storefront

Jesus Christ, is this the Ground Hog Day? I thought we have been through this already? Get yourself a web designer who knows what to do for modern viewership

Leverage Influencer & Community Marketing

This is actually another good one. Just a few quotes

…..reach out to local bloggers and Instagram influencers — whose followership matches your target buyer — and have them create related content and share it with their followers. 

Also, you can partner with a business in the community to host an event at [a property you’re selling] to gain publicity and get foot traffic. For example, if the space is great for showcasing art, you can partner with a local gallery to host a “gallery night” in the property and invite anyone you can to the property.

Obviously, this is something that requires a ton of planning and collaborations, so it will come with its own costs. But worth a try.


I am starting to look for info on getting the RE agent license. Here is the rundown:

To earn your real estate license in Texas, you must be 18 years of age, complete 180 hours of approved education, obtain a sponsoring broker, submit required fees and forms to Texas Real Estate Commission, submit to fingerprinting, and pass the state exam. While the process to become a real estate agent is similar in most states, each state has its unique steps that must be adhered to. The seven steps to becoming a Texas real estate agent are as follows:

Requirements to Obtain Your Texas Salesperson License

Step 1: Must be at least 18 years of age.

Step 2: Register for and complete 180 hours of required education:

In order to apply for the Texas Real Estate License Exam, the state requires you to complete 180 hours of TREC-approved college-level real estate courses. Kaplan offers four education options that fulfill the 180-hour requirement.

View Licensing Packages

Step 3: Consider obtaining a sponsoring broker

In order to practice as a real estate salesperson, you must be sponsored by a licensed Texas real estate broker. You and your sponsor will both need to complete and submit the Sponsorship Form.

Step 4: Submit forms and fees to TREC

After completing the required 180 hours of licensing education, submit all education documents to TREC, including real estate school certificates.

Active or inactive initial license?

You’ll need to decide if you’d prefer an active or inactive license.

  • To apply for an active license to practice real estate, include with your initial mailing the Salesperson Sponsorship (SSF-2) form signed by a licensed Texas real estate broker.
  • To apply for an inactive license, submit only the Inactive Salesperson Application forms at this time. Submit the SSF-2 form later to activate your license.

Note: These forms can be downloaded at, or you may complete this process online at

Step 5: Schedule your license examination and fingerprinting

After you receive your response letter from TREC approving you and directing you to the Candidate Information Brochure, you can schedule your exam with Pearson Vue. You will also receive direction on how to submit your fingerprints for review. You have one year from the date your application is filed to pass the examination.

Step 6: Prepare for the exam

By taking Kaplan’s world-renowned Exam Prep course, you will have no surprises on exam day. The Texas Real Estate Exam Prep program is available as a Live Class or video OnDemand Course.

Step 7: Take the state exam

Once you have passed the state exam and your fingerprints are on file, you will receive an Active or Inactive Salesperson License from TREC via email (remember to monitor your junk mail folder).

These are the TREC approved schools where I can take the necessary courses. It looks like there are 6 two-week courses in total, running $180-$220 per course, to get the right number of hours.

Online courses: packages starting from $500 to $1000, originally it was a redirect from MyMetroTex web site, they have some CE info as well

RETTSchool has the in-person courses at $800 on weekends in Plano, some start in June and end in August, might be perfect for me

Dallas County Community College has pretty expensive courses, at about $200/piece, for prep courses but also for additional courses that might be useful later on

More articles from Chad Carson to read

I will read this when I am tired or bored or have to spend some time sitting and waiting for something. This is from Coach Carson, one of my favorite writers on

Your Team: The Main Ingredient of Real Estate Stardom

Wednesday, October 19Entrepreneurship, investing, and life can become lonely roads. It’s easy to feel like we have the weight of the world on our individual shoulders.That’s why I love reminders from great teachers like hall of fame basketball coach John Wooden, who said “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of…

Subject-to the Mortgage: A Simple & Profitable Explanation

Monday, April 14[This is part 7 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying investment properties subject-to an existing mortgage. Because this particular strategy is a little nontraditional, I recommend watching my video to really get the concept. But first, if you want

Credit Partners – How to Do Deals With a Partner’s Credit and Cash

Monday, April 07[This is part 6 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying properties with a credit partner. If you’re a visual learner, I sketch out the moving parts in more detail in my YouTube video. First, if you want to review my previous articles in the creative

When to Use Lease Options For Purchases

Wednesday, April 02[This is part 5 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about buying properties with lease options (my YouTube video also breaks the topic down further). Some of my most profitable deals of all time have come from the combination of leases and options, so I’m excited to

How to Create a Private “IRA-Bank” For Your Deals

Tuesday, March 25[This is part 4 of 7 in a series about creative financing] This article is about my most-used creative financing tool: self-directed IRA loans. If you want to review my three previous articles about creative financing, check them out here: 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank

How Seller Financing Really Works

Sunday, March 16[This is part 3 of 7 in a series about creative financing] My last two articles have introduced the concept of creative financing: 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing My Creative Financing Toolbox (And Why You Need It Too). In this article and short video

More Options or More Money? My Personal Struggle.

Wednesday, March 12In Oliver Stone’s iconic movie, Wall Street, Charlie Sheen plays a young hotshot in the stock market. At one point he confides to his girlfriend a personal dream. “I think if I can make a bundle of cash before I’m thirty and get out of this racket

My Creative Financing Toolbox (And Why You Need It Too)

Monday, March 10[This is part 2 of 7 in a series of articles about creative real estate financing.] In my last article, I gave 6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing. Bank financing isn’t bad, of course. There are many times when it’s very appropriate. My main problem with

6 Reasons I Prefer Creative Financing to Bank Financing

Monday, March 03[This is part 1 of 7 in a series of articles about creative real estate financing. Each installment will include an article and a short, 10-15 minute YouTube video] I graduated from Clemson University in 2002. Soon after graduating I began real estate investing full-time with a busines

How to Win Game #2 – Create Passive Cash Flow

Thursday, February 27In my last two articles I shared that we are all playing two financial games and I shared How to Win Game #1: Cash Now (Survival). In this article I will share a two-part real estate game plan to win Game #2 – creating passive cash flow. First, a definition. My idea of

How to Win Financial Game #1 – Cash Now (Survival)

Thursday, February 27In my last article I shared that we are all playing two financial games. For review, the two games as I see them are: Game #1 – Cash Now: The game of active income and of survival. Success is earning more than you spend. Game #2 – Cash Flow: The game of passive income and of freedom

The Two Financial Games You Play (and How to Win)

Sunday, February 23Whenever I think about the big picture of real estate investing, I like to remember a very important reality before getting into the nuts and bolts. The reality is this: We are trying to win two different financial games. Just like basketball and baseball, these two financial games have

How to Get What You REALLY Want: The 3 Currencies of Life

Monday, February 10[Part 1 of an ongoing series about my big picture wealth and real estate game-plan] “[I]n spite of the fact that America is famous for its unhappy rich people, most of us remain convinced that just a little more money will set life right. In this way, the messianic metaphor of modern

My Sprint up the Real Estate Mountain

Monday, February 03Out of the Starting Blocks: When I first started my real estate investing business, I studied a few different successful investors whose business models really intrigued me. These investors were buying, fixing up, and selling 50 houses per year! The investors were also averaging $20,000

My “Go or No Go System”: How I Decide to Do a Deal (or Not)

Wednesday, January 29Real estate investors seem to gravitate to one of two extremes when it comes to doing deals: Analysis paralysis: frozen in fear of making a mistake Emotional exuberance: being too aggressive, too optimistic, and irrational. I am not exempt. I have visited both of those places from time

10 Lethal Mistakes to Avoid on Your First Real Estate Investment

Your first investment will be a learning process. While you’ll definitely make a few mistakes along the way, there are a few common pitfalls that can be avoided if you educate yourself beforehand.

REI – conclusions for today

Rumi quotes

After spending literally whole day on I came to two solid conclusions:

  1. Buy and hold may be a questionable strategy for me at this time because I do not have the cash reserves yet to put up for downpayments and all that good stuff, and the rental income alone may not be able to give me enough of a margin to save for the new downpayment
  2. To build the cash reserves, flipping properties seems to be the most common path, and the one I have most advice on. I will spend the first 2-3 years of my REI career becoming a good flipper that does not need a constant hand-holdng, and then start using some of that cash to hold some of the units I flipped through refinancing after the flip.

After reading Chad’s article on quitting the 9-5 and starting a 24/7, I think that I will use the next year to get my real estate license, find brokers who could use my skills, start connecting with people who will become my team mates, do “go alongs” with real estate agents, brokers, flippers.

I will use Chad’s plan and proceed with all his prep steps while my husband and I pay off our debt from credit cards, which will take 14-16 months in itself to happen. But at least now I have a very detailed plan from Chad, and whenever I have a plan, I can execute.

Today was meant to be. It was meant that I would find Chad’s article, and all the reading I have done for 9 hours before-hand allowed me to narrow down my choices to his suggested path.

How to quit your job and invest in real estate – by Chad Carson (Coach Carson)

Two absolutely astonishingly informative articles published on BiggerPokets

This is just a small excerpt of his extensive Article #1

Here are my initial sources of education:

Here is his article #2 about building the team, starting to review listings, and trying to make offers

Here is Chad’s blog on DeeperPockets:

REI books to read

The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs

How much does it really cost to renovate your investment property?

Learn detailed tips, tricks, and tactics to accurately budget nearly any house flipping project and investment property renovation from expert real estate investor and fix-and-flipper J Scott. Discover the tried-and-tested steps of his professional framework and methodology for precisely evaluating renovation costs in hundreds of his own successful rehab projects. Determine how to accurately estimate all the costs you are likely to face during renovation—and get all of your rehab questions answered in a single place!

Whether you are preparing to walk through your very first rehab project or you’re an experienced home flipper, this handbook will be your guide to identifying renovation projects, creating a scope of work, and staying on budget to ensure a timely profit! You don’t need to be a contractor to flip houses, but you do need to know the fundamentals of budgeting and pricing your renovation—including everything from cosmetic renovations to complex installations and upgrades. This book gives you the estimation tools needed to produce the income you desire on your first—or next—investment deal! 

Money People Deal: The Fastest Way To Real Estate Wealth By Stefan Aarnio

The Five Million Dollar Book is a guide to raising capital and putting together real estate joint ventures. This book was a tool used by the author to raise over five million dollars of cash to build his fortune in real estate

REI articles

On finding opportunities

On finding the first deal properties:

Evaluating opportunities

The 8 most important evaluation formulas to understand and memorize:

Multi-family investments for 1st timers:

On putting the margin of safety into every deal:

Miltifamily market seems to be cooling off – strategies for this period:

Possible upcoming multi-family crash may resemble the subprime crisis. Very interesting graphs on market cycle analysis:

More advice on how not to overpay for miltifamily:

On saying “no” to wrong opportunities

The guide to due diligence:

Interesting step-by-step due-diligence walk-through for an apartment building:

Biggest discoveries during due diligence:

“Sometimes it’s the deals you don’t do that make you rich!” JD Martin

Common mistakes in REI

6 common mistakes new investors make:

On investments in self-storage

On various negotiating tactics

Make deals fearlessly:

Investment strategies

Buy and hold vs flip and go –

How to start as a hustler, even some 1st-year hustle suggestions:

Calculating how many rental properties I need to retire:

The Shiny Strategy Syndrome:


On your investment philosophy

On how to set your investment philosophy by establishing clear goals:

Adopting the screw it, let’s do it attitude for newbies –

Focusing on Why before focusing on What and How-

Buffet-ology applied to REI:

A little bit more of Buffet-ology thinking:

I guess, sometimes you do not mind overpaying for a multi-family property? An interesting discussion here:

Current RE market conditions

Study showing that currently US is not in a bubble situation overall, although some cities are an exception:

Strategies to succeed in the cooling market:

How to recognize signs of the housing bubble, and what to do to make money during the bubble:

Pivoting to real estate

In 2019, I am pivoting to real estate. I do not know how soon I will be able to start investing myself, but at the very least I can start learning and looking for friends within that industry.

I am starting a new category of links that will deal with this topic

The next chapter

I am starting to think what the next chapter of my life would look like. Today is the first day I am officially organizing my thoughts and ideas. Whatever happens to me in the next 10 years starts today.

It is 5 am, can’t wait for the dawn to come.

David Ogilvy – philosophy and quotes

David Ogilvy Quotes

I got interested in learning more about David Ogilvy. I found this article to be pretty informative:

"Tell the truth, but make the truth fascinating."
David Ogilvy

They summarize Ogilvyan method in 7 commandments

Commandment #1: Your role is to sell, don’t let anything distract you from the sole purpose of advertising.

Commandment #2: Clearly define your positioning: What and for Who?

“I could have positioned Dove as a detergent bar for men with dirty hands, but chose instead to position it as a toilet bar for women with dry skin. This is still working 25 years later.”

Commandment #3: Do your homework. Study your consumer in detail.

“Advertisers who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore the signs of the enemy.“

Commandment #4: Think of the consumer as a woman, she wants all the information you can give her.

Commandment #5: Talk to them in the language they use every day, the language in which they think.

Commandment #6: Write great headlines and you’ll have successfully invested 80% of your money.

“On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”

“Never use tricky or irrelevant headlines… People read too fast to figure out what you are trying to say.”

Commandment #7: Highlight the product by making it the hero.

“I never assign a product to a writer unless I know that he is personally interested in it. Every time I have written a bad campaign, it has been because the product did not interest me.”

Example: Apple’s positioning strategy focuses primarily on emotions and the consumer’s lifestyle, their imagination, passion, dreams, hopes, aspirations, and they promise to make people’s lives easier. When you buy an Apple product, you immediately become part of a generation that believes that the rebels can change the world and have got to fight for what they think.

My own addition to the commandments

Commandment #8: Start with THE BIG IDEA

“It takes a big idea to attract the attention of the consumers and get them to buy your product. Unless your advertising contains a big idea, it will pass like a ship in the night. I doubt if more than one campaign in a hundred contains a big idea”

Quotes by David Ogily:

What you say in advertising is more important than how you say it.

The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible.

Don’t bunt. Aim out of the ball park. Aim for the company of immortals.

The consumer isn’t a moron. She is your wife.

In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative, original thinker unless you can also sell what you create.

A good advertisement is one which sells the product without drawing attention to itself.

Never write an advertisement which you wouldn’t want your family to read. You wouldn’t tell lies to your own wife. Don’t tell them to mine.

Our business is infested with idiots who try to impress by using pretentious jargon.

Develop your eccentricities while you are young. That way, when you get old, people won’t think you’re going gaga.

I do not regard advertising as entertainment or an art form, but as a medium of information

When I write an advertisement, I don’t want you to tell me that you find it ‘creative.’ I want you to find it so interesting that you buy the product.

Books by David Ogilvy:

Ogilvy on Advertising

Confessions of an Advertising Man